How to Stand Out When Applying for a Rental Property

- 15/04/2024

Est. 7 mins

How to Stand Out When Applying for a Rental Property blog header

In today’s market, more and more people are being pushed towards renting and securing a rental property has become harder than ever. Factors such as high interest rates, snowballing living costs, and a supply and demand problem caused by landlords selling up and exiting the market have compounded to mean higher rents and more applications per rental property. 

In such a competitive market, it’s really important to present yourself well when you find somewhere you’d like to live. In this article, we’ll explore some of the ways you can stand out against the competition and secure your spot in your next rented home. 

Tips for demonstrating that you’ll be a good tenant

Overall, landlords and letting agents will prioritise tenants who communicate effectively and can be trusted to pay rent on time and take care of the property. But how do you demonstrate these things during your rental application? Let’s take a closer look.

Make a great first impression

Making a good first impression and communicating clearly will improve your chances of getting the rental property you want. One of the best ways to do this in the early stages is to arrive at property viewings and appointments on time. If for any reason you anticipate being late, communicate it as soon as possible. Don’t be surprised if the agent is reluctant to book another viewing with you if you show up late or are a no-show! 

During the property viewing, take a moment to share a little about yourself. While you don’t need to provide your life story, giving the landlord or agent some insight into why you’re moving can help them understand your situation better and create a more personal connection. If for some reason you need to move urgently, be transparent about it. Whether it’s due to a job relocation, family circumstances, or other reasons, providing context can help landlords and agents understand your timeline and be more inclined to consider your application. And don’t forget to thank the agent for theirtime at the end of the viewing to leave them with a good feeling about you!

Letting agent with clipboard

Move quickly and be proactive

We recommend that you have all of your documents ready so you can start the application process as soon as you’ve viewed the property. In the current market, rental properties are getting reserved quickly – delaying your application by just a few days could mean losing out to someone more organised!

Renters in the UK must provide proof of identity and right to rent to their landlord or letting agent before their application can be accepted so make sure you have these documents to hand. Other documents such as financial statements and references may also be requested. Being prepared can really speed up the rental application process. 

Once you’ve applied, keep in touch and reply quickly to any questions that the landlord or letting agent has. Provide the documents they ask for as soon as possible to show that you’re eager to move in, and try to be flexible about tenancy length and move in dates if necessary to show them that you can cooperate. 

Show that you’re financially stable 

If you can demonstrate that you’re financially stable, your rental application will be more attractive. We recommend getting your finances in order before applying to live somewhere new. In order to pass affordability checks, you’ll typically need to earn at least 2.5 times the annual rent for single let properties or at least 2.25 times the annual rent for HMOs or properties where bills are included in the price of rent. The landlord or agent may ask to see your employment contract, bank statements, payslips, or proof of benefit entitlement to prove that you’re able to afford the property.

Things like your credit score and whether you have any CCJs may also be factored in. Taking steps to improve your credit score before applying to a rental property can massively increase your chances of being accepted, however, if you don’t earn enough or have a poor credit history, consider asking a close friend or family member to be your guarantor.

A guarantor is someone who agrees to pay your rent if you don’t or can’t pay it, and they should earn at least 3 times your annual rent in order to qualify. If you think you’re going to need a guarantor, it’s a good idea to get an informal agreement with them in place before contacting the letting agent, so as not to cause any delays with your rental application. You can also try to get past a low credit score by offering to pay rent in advance or providing extra references. 

Provide a positive landlord reference

Another great way to support your rental application is by providing a positive landlord reference from a previous tenancy as this can help your new landlord feel confident about renting to you. Landlord references typically include details about how you behaved as a tenant before, if you paid rent on time, how long you stayed in your previous place, and if there were any problems while you lived there. We recommend getting in touch with your previous landlord/landlords prior to applying to a new property to let them know that they may be contacted. This will help to prevent delays with your rental application.

If you’ve had a tough time with a previous landlord, you may struggle to get a positive reference. But don’t panic! There are a few things you can do to help improve your chances of getting the property you want, including having someone you trust co-sign the tenancy, paying rent upfront, or balancing out a negative reference with multiple positive ones.

Family moving into their new home

What not to do when applying for a rental property

So, you’ve learnt how to demonstrate your viability as a potential tenant but it’s also important to avoid certain behaviours that will harm your chances of getting accepted. Here are a few of our biggest red flags: 

  • Having someone inquire on your behalf: While it might seem helpful to have a parent or friend make inquiries for you, it can give the impression that you’re not serious about the rental. Landlords want to hear directly from potential tenants to assess their suitability, so contact them yourself whenever possible!
  • Using terms like “sofa surfing”: Even if you’re temporarily staying with a friend, avoid using terms that might suggest instability in your living situation. It’s better to focus on the positives, like your current employment and financial stability.
  • Failing to properly read the advert: Take the time to read the property advert before reaching out to the landlord or letting agent with questions. Often, the information you need is already provided in the ad and demonstrating that you’ve done your homework shows responsibility and saves everyone time.
  • Being rude or impatient: While you may be eager to move in quickly, constantly calling for updates shortly after submitting your application can be off-putting. Trust that the landlord or letting agent is working hard to process your application and be respectful of their time.

At Purseglove, you’re more than just a tenant…

We believe that everyone deserves more than just a roof over their head. That’s why we’re dedicated to providing tenants with a safe, comfortable, affordable, and impeccably maintained home. Get in touch with us today to find out more about our tenant services and the properties we manage. We’re always happy to help!

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